Vertex Energy (NASDAQ: VTNR) and Stericycle (NASDAQ:SRCL) are both industrial products companies, but which is the superior investment? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their earnings, risk, analyst recommendations, profitabiliy, valuation, dividends and institutional ownership.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

23.5% of Vertex Energy shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 95.5% of Stericycle shares are owned by institutional investors. 31.0% of Vertex Energy shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 3.3% of Stericycle shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Volatility and Risk

Vertex Energy has a beta of 0.86, meaning that its stock price is 14% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Stericycle has a beta of 0.13, meaning that its stock price is 87% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent ratings for Vertex Energy and Stericycle, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Vertex Energy 0 1 0 0 2.00
Stericycle 3 6 6 0 2.20

Vertex Energy currently has a consensus price target of $1.00, suggesting a potential downside of 2.91%. Stericycle has a consensus price target of $80.83, suggesting a potential upside of 6.08%. Given Stericycle’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Stericycle is more favorable than Vertex Energy.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Vertex Energy and Stericycle’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Vertex Energy $118.72 million 0.28 $975,784.00 ($0.55) -1.87
Stericycle $3.58 billion 1.81 $798.79 million $1.91 39.90

Stericycle has higher revenue and earnings than Vertex Energy. Vertex Energy is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Stericycle, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Profitability

This table compares Vertex Energy and Stericycle’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Vertex Energy -5.63% -16.86% -7.60%
Stericycle 5.23% 14.40% 5.82%

Summary

Stericycle beats Vertex Energy on 11 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

Vertex Energy Company Profile

Vertex Energy, Inc. is an environmental services company that recycles industrial waste streams and off-specification commercial chemical products. The Company focuses on recycling used motor oil and other petroleum by-products. The Company’s segments include the Black Oil, Refining and Marketing, and Recovery divisions. The Company’s product categories include Used Motor Oil, Fuel Oil, pyrolysis gasoline (Pygas), Gasoline Blendstock and Base Oil. The Black Oil division is engaged in operations across the used motor oil recycling value chain, including collection, aggregation, transportation, storage, refinement and sales of aggregated feedstock and re-refined products to end users. The Refining and Marketing division is engaged in the aggregation of feedstock, re-refining it into end products, and selling these products to customers. The Recovery division is a provider of generator solutions for the recovery and management of hydrocarbon streams.

Stericycle Company Profile

Stericycle, Inc. is a business-to-business services provider. The Company focuses on regulated and compliance solutions for healthcare, retail, and commercial businesses. The Company’s segments include Domestic and Canada Regulated Waste and Compliance Services (RCS), Domestic Communication and Related Services (CRS), International RCS and All other. The Domestic and Canada RCS and International RCS segments include medical waste disposal, pharmaceutical waste disposal, hazardous waste management, sustainability solutions for expired or unused inventory, secure information destruction of documents and e-media, training and consulting through its Steri-Safe and Clinical Services programs, and other regulatory compliance services. The Domestic CRS segment consists of inbound/outbound communication, automated patient reminders, online scheduling, notifications, product retrievals, product returns and quality audits.

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